TPM News

During a telephone interview on MSNBC today Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) failed to reconcile the hypocrisy inherent in Republican criticisms of President Obama's allegedly soft or slow reaction to the attempted attack on flight 253. As MSNBC's Milissa Rehberger pointed out, then-President George W. Bush took six days to issue a response to shoe bomber Richard Reid's failed attack in 2001 -- far longer than President Obama took to address flight 253.

Plus, Reid had a trial in civilian court -- though Republicans have jumped all over the Obama administration for not trying Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in a military tribunal.

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In an unusually direct and aggressive blog post, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer today criticizes former Vice President Dick Cheney for his constant critique of the administration's national security policies.

Pfeiffer wrote, "it is telling that Vice President Cheney and others seem to be more focused on criticizing the Administration than condemning the attackers."

Pfeiffer said that in his statement to Politico today Cheney makes a "clearly untrue" claim that Obama doesn't realize we're at war.

"I don't think anyone realizes this very hard reality more than President Obama," Pfeiffer wrote, detailing the times Obama and his top advisers have used the term.

"The difference is this: President Obama doesn't need to beat his chest to prove it, and - unlike the last Administration - we are not at war with a tactic ("terrorism"), we [are] at war with something that is tangible: al Qaeda and its violent extremist allies. And we will prosecute that war as long as the American people are endangered," he wrote.

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Fulfilling one of the transparency goals of President Obama's administration, the White House today released more than 25,000 records of visitors who came through the gates at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue this year.

Check out the names here, and TPMDC will update readers as we go through the names.

The spreadsheet posted at WhiteHouse.gov offers the visitor's full name, date of visit, who they met with and in what room. These records cover from Sept. 16 to Sept. 30, and the monthly visitors logs will be a regular release going forward.

There also are records of visitors who met with Vice President Joe Biden and his staff, but the system that collects the names is not in place yet for the vice president's residence at the Naval Observatory.

Vice President Joe Biden office released for the first time the names of visitors who have come to his residence at the Naval Observatory for official events. The office also is working with Secret Service to get the automated system that collects names of visitors in place at the residence.

Those records are marked with VPR on the data sheet.

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Washington Times Managing Editor for Digital Jeffrey Birnbaum has resigned effective Friday, and several other top editors are being let go as the dismantling of the conservative newspaper continues, according to newsroom sources.

An all-staff meeting has been called for 3:30 p.m. ET at the struggling Times, which announced earlier this month it is laying off at least 40 percent of its staff.

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has a new end-of-the-year fundraising e-mail, urging his supporters to help him fight the Democrats -- and depending on how you read it, also fight against a possible hard-right primary challenger.

McCain declares:

Whether it's fighting Medicare cuts, tax increases, earmarks or any other issue, my approach to policy is the same as it's always been: I call things like I see them. When I see decisions that I disagree with, I offer criticism. Yes, I can be passionate in my opposition, but I always try to ensure that it is loyal, civil, and constructive opposition.


(Emphasis in the original.)

Chuck Todd suspects that McCain's appeal for civility could be a subtle message against the Tea Party crowd, in light of the possible primary challenge by former Rep. J.D. Hayworth.

Check out the full e-mail after the jump, and decide for yourself.

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A new CNN poll contains a fun result, finding that President Obama is not the most popular person in his administration -- and that he's edged out by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whom he had narrowly defeated for the Democratic nomination in 2008.

Obama's personal favorability rating is 58%, with 40% unfavorable. Hillary Clinton is at 64% favorable, with only 30% unfavorable. Secretary of Defense Robert gates is close behind Obama at 52% favorable, 18% unfavorable.

Interestingly, Gates' favorability is spread very evenly across partisan and demographic groups: 54% favorable among both whites and blacks, 55% favorable among Republicans, and 54% among Democrats.

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Massachusetts state Sen. Scott Brown, the underdog Republican candidate in the special election for the late Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, has a new ad that ties him to the Kennedy legacy. To be specific, Brown is linking himself to the John F. Kennedy legacy, using the common depiction by modern Republicans of President Kennedy as a supply-side conservative.

The ad opens with footage of Kennedy proposing a tax cut in 1963 1962, and then fades into Brown reciting the words of Kennedy's speech about how tax cuts will spur growth:



Besides the obvious joke that Scott Brown is no Jack Kennedy, it should be noted that any tax cut being proposed today is no Kennedy tax cut (or more properly a "Kennedy-Johnson" tax cut, since it was proposed by Kennedy but not enacted into law until LBJ came into office), and the circumstances are wildly different. At the time of the Kennedy-Johnson tax cuts, the top marginal income tax rate was over 90%, which was then lowered to 70 percent. By modern conservative standards, this would be considered a tyrannical socialist regime plotting to confiscate all private property.

Today, the current top federal income tax rate is 36%. If the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire for the upper brackets, the top rate will be 39%. Even if the Democrats were to propose increasing the top income taxes beyond that, it's hard to imagine them going anywhere near the tax rates of the Kennedy-Johnson era.

TPMLivewire